Press Release
February 24, 2020


Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), led the distribution of relief goods for evacuees in Ibaan, Batangas who were affected by the eruption of Taal volcano in January.

As he speaks with the evacuees, Gordon shared his experiences during the devastating eruption of Mt. Pinatubo that happened in June 1991 and inspired them not to lose hope and continue having the fighting spirit to carry on.

"Ako, katulad ninyo, nagibaan din ako sa Pinatubo. 'Yung bahay ng nanay ko, nagiba, so, we didn't have any home after Pinatubo. Marami sa aming mga kababayan, wala rin. Ang sabi ko noong araw, 'Fight on, Olongapo!' Ngayon, nakikita ko, ang Batangas, magiting. Hindi baleng mawala ang yaman, huwag lang mawala ang yabang! Ang yabang ay 'yung fighting spirit na talagang hindi tayo nawawalan ng loob," he said.

Gordon was Olongapo City's mayor when the eruption took place. After the incident, he mobilized his constituents to volunteer instead of being disheartened.

"Ngayon, gusto rin namin kayong matutong maging Red Cross sa pagvo-volunteer. Dapat may kusang loob, malasakit at kapwa-tao. 'Yon lang ang kailangan," he stated as he encourages the evacuees to work together until they are able to get back on their feet.

Gordon also hopes that the PRC can be able to provide homes for the victims of the eruption like what they did for typhoon Yolanda victims in 2013, where the PRC provided 81,000 shelters.

In Ibaan, the PRC established a Tent City in Barangay Malainan one month after the recent eruption of Taal. Tents were built on a 7,000 square meters land that was provided by the local government. The project was made possible with the help of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the Spanish Red Cross.

During his visit at the evacuation center, Gordon distributed non-food items such as tarpaulins, mosquito nets, jerry cans and hygiene kits containing shampoo and conditioner, bath soap, and toothbrush and toothpaste, among others.

"Gusto kong malaman ninyo, mayroon tayong shared vision, shared values, shared triumphs, shared suffering. Marami tayong naging vulnerable, wala tayong laban, pero sabay-sabay tayong nagbubuhat sa hirap at ginhawa; bawat oras, sama-sama sa hirap at ginhawa. At palagay ko, kapag nakabangon tayong lahat, mas maganda pa ang buhay natin," Gordon said.

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